Love and loss in the information age.
The internet has collapsed the boundaries of time, space, and desire. However far apart lovers are, they can instantly be present. So can they ever really break up?
This is the question Walsh's narrator must reckon with as she travels across Europe after the end of a love affair conducted largely online. This pilgrimage through 'offline' space dictated by chance - on railways, on buses, on planes and, above all, on foot - wrestles with the dangers of converting longing into language, and reclaims and reshapes the territory of the male travel writer by creating personal and innovative maps of cities by which Walsh navigates the complexities of modern love.
This is a work about borders - between places, people, genres - and how we might cross them. Challenging the divisions between intellect and intimacy, Walsh blends the personal and the critical to tell a mystery story about her own reality. But Break.up also challenges the borders between fiction and non-fiction, ranging widely into eclectic essays on music, boredom, shame, photography, marriage, art.
From Rome to Budapest, Freud to Foucault, algorithms to nostalgia, this is a stimulating, original work which dismantles what we know of love, and how we make art from it, and finds a new form and language for the way we love now.
Joanna Walsh's work has appeared in Granta, Narrative, The Stinging Fly and Guernica, amongst others. Her first collection, Fractals, was published by 3:AM Press 2013, and her non-fiction work Hotel was published internationally by Bloomsbury in 2015. This was followed by Vertigo, published by And Other Stories in 2016 and was shortlisted for the Edge Hill Short Story Prize. Her digitally groundbreaking novella Seed, widely praised for its innovation was released in 2017, and her latest collection of stories Words from the World's End is out now. She was awarded the 2017 Arts Foundation Fellowship in Literature for the manuscript of Break.Up.